Oh Alan! If only you had stopped off at your local BP and filled up! Could have picked up a copy of the Telegraph and  a pork pie while you were at it as well. It is a long journey after all. It might be wise to say at this point that the views contained in this comic are not those of the author. If you detect some sort of bias then take that as you want but I reccomend that if you do take it, you take it with a good pinch of salt. What this page does throw up is an interesting question about traditional religious education regardless of the creed. My view is that if controlled correctly, religious schools be they Christian, Islamic or Jewish can be a moderate force for good.

I will make the point to those all too willing to start ranting about Madrassa being schools of extremism is that one reason why Ireland has had such a fractured and tortured couple of recent centuries has been the embedding of sectarianism and extremism into society by forcing children to go to school on the lines of their religion and not on the basis of ability. Religious schools are probably the worst thing to happen to Northern Ireland and the best way of killing sectarianism and extremism in my mind is to bring them under heavy restrictions and supervision. If that means familes there have to hold their noses and send their kids to a secular school rather than to their precious Catholic or Protestant schools then they should learn to share and play nice.


Well, while Kathy stews and Alan flails around at this debacle, I’m here to tell you that the last few days have been pretty busy and on the whole pretty good for me. I’m in good health, England are on top in the 2nd test and I enjoyed cocktails on Friday night with Alex. Splendid stuff I must say. But, a new week in this lovely summer heralds one thing and one thing only: a new page for Hard Graft!

As you might have noticed, Issue two is progressing rather well but as always, if you have any questions and comments, please please send them in.